I never really thought much about this word until last week. I was preparing what I was going to say at Open House, and as I practiced my “speech”, I realized that I said “basically” a lot. Everything was “Well, basically this….” and “We basically that…” My goodness! I couldn’t believe how much I said the word basically. So I decided that I was going to go through the whole night without saying that word. However, when practicing again…I found it hard to substitute any word…it’s a word that has infiltrated my vocabulary, much like the word “like” (as in, “I was all like, what are you doing?”…from Valley Girl 80s speak, maybe? I hear it a lot as well…)
So I went through that night, and caught myself saying “basically” twice. I kicked myself each time I said, causing a slight “hiccup” in my flow of words. I thought, gosh, I sound stupid.
Until I noticed it from people around me. Just last night on the news, I heard the word “basically” many times from people being interviewed. I watched a craft show and heard “basically” a lot, too. At a meeting today, I counted “basically” used eleven times. I didn’t realize how popular that word is!
So, of course, it drove me to look it up on the internet.
From Dictionary.com, it says:
ba·si·cal·ly P Pronunciation Key (bs-k-l, -kl)
In a basic way; fundamentally or essentially: Throughout the ordeal, he remained basically the same.
For the most part; chiefly: They basically do what they are supposed to.
adv : at bottom or by one’s (or its) very nature; “He is basically dishonest”; “the argument was essentially a technical one”; “for all his bluster he is in essence a shy person” [syn: fundamentally, essentially, in essence, au fond]
Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University
I also found that there are people who dislike that word, since it’s overused (check out the comments).
“Actually the use of basically clearly drives us nuts” is an article that says people tend to use basically more when speaking than in writing, but yet, not like a filler, like “you know”.
It seems to have started in England, and now that I think about it…yes…my British love had used the word basically in nearly every sentence (along with the word literally, of course, pronounced in British as “litchry”). Think about it…can’t you just hear Hugh Grant stuttering over that word? Along with literally?
And it seems that, if you say it in the media, it will discount your credibility. Wow! You know how many people I’ve heard say that on the news?!?!
Well, okay, maybe they weren’t reporters…or maybe they were…I just hear it often. So much so that when it is spoken, I start giggling. Yet, I would’ve never noticed its overuse if I hadn’t been talking out loud to myself, practicing my speech. I caught myself, but I wonder how many other people don’t realize it…it just flows from their mouth naturally. Especially those darn British 😉
I wonder what other words I overuse…hmm…I guess reading my words will show me, I should use that WordCounter.com but it might not be a good reflection of what I actually say (I don’t think I type what I would normally say, but maybe I do…). But then again, if I find out what words I overuse, I’ll be so self-conscious of what I say that I probably wouldn’t say anything aloud at all! Which is not good in my occupation… hehehe.